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Former Lawmaker Says Biden Made Her Feel Uneasy in 2014; Candidates Weigh in on Biden Kissing Allegations; Migrant Centers Overcrowded to Bursting Point; Interview with Rep. Juan Vargas (D-CA); Student Killed After Getting Into Car She Mistook for Her Uber; "The Washington Post" Highlights Some Of President Donald Trump's Financial Inconsistencies Over The Years; Trump Administration Says It Is Cutting Off Funding To These Three Countries; Jordan Holgerson Fell A Terrifying 60 Feet Into The Water Below After She Was Pushed By Her Friend Taylor Smith Last Summer. Aired 7-8p ET

Aired March 31, 2019 - 19:00   ET


[19:00:09] ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: It's 7:00 p.m. Eastern, 4:00 p.m. out West. You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM. I'm Ana Cabrera in New York. Thanks for being with us.

A new controversy in the political world is brewing. Ahead of a possible 2020 bid, former Vice President Joe Biden is now defending himself against allegations from a former Nevada Assemblywoman who says his actions at a 2014 campaign event made her feel, quote, uneasy, gross, and confused. Here is Lucy Flores describing to CNN what happened.


LUCY FLORES, FORMER MEMBER OF THE NEVADA ASSEMBLY: Very unexpectedly and out of nowhere, I feel Joe Biden put his hands on my shoulders, get up very close to me from behind, lean in, smell my hair, and then plant a slow kiss on the top of my head. And that in of itself might not sound like it's a very serious thing. That in of itself might sound like it was innocent and well-intentioned.

But in the context of it as a person that had absolutely no relationship with him afterwards, as a candidate who was preparing to make my case for why I should be elected the second in command of that state, to have the Vice President of the United States do that to me so unexpectedly and just kind of out of nowhere, it was just shocking.

It was shocking because you don't expect that kind of intimate behavior. You don't expect that kind of intimacy from someone so powerful and someone who you just have no relationship whatsoever to touch you and to feel you and to be so close to you in that way.

So I, frankly, just didn't even know how to react. I was just shocked. I felt powerless. I felt like I couldn't move. I just didn't even know how to process it.

JAKE TAPPER, CNN ANCHOR: We should point out, you supported Bernie Sanders in 2016 running for president. He is running again. You attended a Beto O'Rourke campaign event yesterday. You've told us that you haven't endorsed any candidate yet. You haven't decided who you want to support.

But how would you respond to somebody out there who says she is attending a Beto rally. She supported Bernie in 2016. Politics might be at least partially motivating you here. What would you tell those people?

FLORES: I would say politics was definitely the impetus. The reason why we're having these conversations about Vice President Joe Biden is because he is considering running for president.

And frankly, the reason why I felt so compelled to finally say something was because, over the years, as this behavior was documented, as it was frankly dismissed by the media and not taken seriously, that conversation was not coming up.


CABRERA: So Biden is responding. In a statement today, he says, in my many years on the campaign trail and in public life, I have offered countless handshakes, hugs, expressions of affection, support, and comfort. And not once, never, did I believe I acted inappropriately. If it is suggested I did so, I will listen respectfully, but it was never my intention.

Joining me now, CNN senior political analyst and former adviser to four presidents, David Gergen.

David, there are plenty of photos and video of Biden hugging and being affectionate toward women. CNN's own Kate Bennett, for example, pointed out this photo of Biden with Stephanie Carter, wife of former Defense Secretary Ash Carter. Do you think Biden has done enough to address this?

DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Not yet. And the story is also building. It's a significant story. It could put a cloud over his candidacy. And right now, as you know, he's a frontrunner, not only for the nomination, but he's the one Democrat who really is winning out against Donald Trump. So it's very significant at a significant moment. It's a significant story.

I am among those who believe that he does need to apologize publicly to Anita Hill. I think should go see Anita Hill about what happened back in 1991. He has expressed his regrets. I think he needs to go farther.

I think he also needs -- we need to put some context of our own here. I've known Joe Biden a long time as have many others and have always found him a very emotional man who is very, very affectionate. You know, he's -- that's who he is.

And I know that he hasn't meant to be behaving inappropriately, but he comes out of an era that, you know, when kissing a woman on her cheek when you first meet her is not -- it was not regarded as an offense. It happens frequently in terms of people meeting each other. And so kissing someone at the back of their neck? I don't know. The organizer of the event said it never happened.

The one thing I do really feel strongly about, and beyond the fact that he needs to address it more seriously, is that with this woman, Ms. Flores -- and I understand why she feels offended but to say that it's disqualifying to be the nominee of the party? Disqualifying in the age of Trump? That this is disqualifying? That's something we --

[19:05:06] CABRERA: Well, the Democrats have put their -- or put themselves forward as really having the moral high ground, though, on the issue when it comes to the #MeToo era, haven't they?

GERGEN: I agree. I agree with that. And I think the #MeToo is to be celebrated. We're all learning a lot we didn't understand before, especially of those of us of the older generation. But I also -- I just think it needs to be seen -- these acts need to be seen within the context of who he is. He has been hugging people, and I know others who hug people when they first meet them.


GERGEN: And you know, I don't --

CABRERA: I'm a hugger.


GERGEN: Yes, and it's not --

CABRERA: I mean, there is some innocence there in terms of greeting people.

GERGEN: Yes. Well, that's right and he --

CABRERA: But then there's another level.

GERGEN: He's been through a lot in life, too. Yes, I --

CABRERA: Yes, I hear what you're saying.

GERGEN: I'm very --

CABRERA: I think a lot of people would say this is just Biden being Biden.

GERGEN: It is and I --

CABRERA: But does it excuse? And he is saying, you know, it wasn't my intention, but if it has offended people, if it has made them feel uncomfortable --


CABRERA: -- I will address that.


CABRERA: But you're saying he hasn't done enough yet to address that. Let me --

GERGEN: I do not believe. I think he really, especially with regard to Anita Hill, needs to make a public apology and go see her.

CABRERA: I want to read something that Trump has said about possibly running against Biden because, as you mentioned, he is leading the polls right now, and he is getting the highest marks when it comes to who can best take on President Trump.

And this is what Trump has said -- I hope it's Biden. Biden was never very smart. He was a terrible student. His gaffes are unbelievable. When I say something that you might think is a gaffe, it's on purpose. It's not a gaffe. When Biden says something dumb, it's because he is dumb.

What do you think this is a fight Trump welcomes?

GERGEN: I'm sorry, I didn't understand the last question. Why do you think what?

CABRERA: Why do you think Trump welcomes this fight?

GERGEN: Oh, I think Trump is very confident he can beat him. Just as he's confident he can beat Elizabeth Warren and several other people in these competitions. We'll wait and see. You know, he was very confident about the midterms too, and it didn't turn out that way in his favor. So, yes, I think this is mostly sort of just campaign talk and, you know, the real result results when people vote.

CABRERA: When it comes to Republicans, is this issue for Biden something they'll stay away from, considering Trump's own history that you referenced earlier?

GERGEN: I think some Republicans are really reluctant to go there, I don't think Donald Trump is going to be reluctant to go there. And --

CABRERA: You don't?

GERGEN: Yes, no, I don't. I don't think he is -- you know, he goes where angels fear to tread as you well know. So I just don't think that this is going to -- this is -- what -- this incident is not going to be just positive, but it does open up the door for Biden's critics, including those who are running against him or who would be running against him, to go after him. It was notable today that almost every Democratic candidate talked about it --


GERGEN: -- said something that would come -- had a negative context except for Amy Klobuchar, who kept -- you know, who was, I think, more -- she skirted it and didn't really deal with it.

CABRERA: Well, hold your thought there, David, because we actually have sound from a number of the 2020 candidates. Let's listen.


MARGARET BRENNAN, CBS NEWS HOST: She said she's coming forth now because she thinks it's disqualifying for Joe Biden. Do you think it's disqualifying?

SEN. BERNIE SANDERS (D), VERMONT: Well, I think that's a decision for the Vice President to make. I'm not sure that one incident alone disqualifies anybody, but her point is absolutely right. This is an issue, not just the Democrats or Republicans, the entire country has got to take seriously.

SEN. AMY KLOBUCHAR (D), MINNESOTA: I have no reason not to believe her, Jonathan. And I think we know from campaigns and from politics that people raise issues and they have to address them, and that's what he will have to do with the voters if he gets into the race.

JOHN HICKENLOOPER, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I think that's why we have an election. That's that process. But, certainly, it's very disconcerting and I think that, again, women have to be heard and we should really -- we should start by believing them.

SEN. ELIZABETH WARREN (D), MASSACHUSETTS: I believe Lucy Flores, and Joe Biden needs to give an answer.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Should he not run as a result?

WARREN: That's for Joe Biden to decide.

JULIAN CASTRO, DEMOCRATIC PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I believe Lucy Flores. We need to live in a nation where people can hear her truth.


CABRERA: David, when you hear the culmination of those answers, are they basically trying to tell Biden, don't get in this race?

GERGEN: I think they're encouraging him to stay out. I don't think they're telling him, but I think they would like to have him stay out, you know, for obvious reasons. But to go back to this, I just can't emphasize enough, it's -- it does seem to me that in having these conversations, and one starts from the proposition that women have been badly treated in the past and we do need to straighten that out, we do need to have better understandings among us.

[19:10:00] But I hope, at the same time, we try to do this in sort of a measured way, one which we try to understand the alternative point of view and that Joe Biden, basically, is somebody who, I think, has had lots and lots of acts of affection.

And, by the way, most of them have been in public as best as I can tell. There are pictures, I mean. We've known this for a long time. It is who he is. And this is the first time it's come up about it's disqualifying. That is very troublesome.

CABRERA: David Gergen, good to have you with us. Thank you very much.

GERGEN: Thank you, Ana.

CABRERA: A dire situation on the U.S./Mexico border worsening today as migrant centers are reaching the breaking point. We'll go live to two border cities next.

Plus, the Trump administration ramping up threats to shut down the U.S. border. I'll speak to the Congressman whose district includes the busiest land port of entry in the country. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:14:59] CABRERA: On the southern border right now in Texas, in Arizona, in New Mexico, the migrant crisis is not about policy or politics. It's about the people caught and detained after crossing into the U.S.

There are more of them than there are government resources to handle them. So this weekend, overcapacity border processing centers are doing something about this problem. They are letting thousands of people out.

Customs officials put it very bluntly. They say the immigration system is broken and the current situation on the border is unsustainable. President Trump blames Mexico and he is throwing out his solution -- close the border.

He tweeted this yesterday -- Mexico must use its very strong immigration laws to stop the many thousands of people trying to get into the U.S.A. Next step is to close the border.

Something else the President is doing to punish Central American countries for failing to keep people from fleeing? He is cutting aid, millions of dollars, to Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras, effectively making life more difficult in those countries. President Trump will get a look for himself at the border situation in just a few days. He says he is planning to visit a border town Friday when he is in California.

Let's go live to the border now with CNN's Ed Lavandera in El Paso, Texas. Also with us, Martin Savidge in Brownsville.

Ed, the migrant center there in El Paso is one of those that are said to be way over capacity. What's going to happen to the people there?

ED LAVANDERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, CBP, Customs and Border Protection, have been -- has been saying for the last week or so that they are over capacity. This is one of those areas, the El Paso sector, in far west Texas and -- which reaches also into the remotes area -- remote areas of New Mexico that have really seen the largest numbers of these large groups of migrants who have been arriving here at the border.

In fact, just a short while ago, we saw a group of about 50 migrants being picked up by Border Patrol agents here in downtown El Paso. That area you see behind me underneath the bridge, that's one of the bridges that take from El Paso to Juarez, Mexico. And for the better part of the last two weeks, there have been hundreds of migrants that have been basically stored away underneath that bridge, waiting to be processed.

Now, Customs and Border Protection says it has moved those migrants to other facilities in the area, that they will no longer be held underneath this bridge, which raises a lot of questions as to, you know, why wasn't that done initially and also leads to the criticism that many activists have been levying against the Trump administration, that they're trying to create this sense of chaos down here on the border to push for the national emergency and the construction of more border wall.

All of this comes as the President is talking about sealing off the border. Hundreds of -- thousands of people used these bridges across the border, up and down from Brownsville to San Diego, to cross back and forth daily. So that will be -- have a significant effect on local economies and in ways of life down here on the border.

CABRERA: So let me just follow up with that real fast, Ed. Given the reality that you're seeing, does it jive with what we're hearing from DHS Secretary Nielsen, saying the system is in a free fall? Or hearing from CBP calling it a breaking point?

LAVANDERA: Well, look, even activists acknowledge that they believe that the numbers that the federal government has been putting out -- for example, here in the month of March, CBP officials say they expect about a hundred thousand apprehensions. If that holds true, that would be the largest number of apprehensions that the agency has seen in at least 10 years.

But a lot of those critics also point out that there have been larger numbers of migrants and there has always been the ability to process them thoroughly. Now, Customs and Border Protection continues to insist as they have been -- the DHS Secretary has been down here to the border. The CBP Commissioner was here last week in El Paso. And no one really disputes the numbers that they're seeing here at this point. It is clearly significant.

And also, in a lot of it, what has changed is the large number of groups that you see in mass numbers. So it's not uncommon as -- to see what we just saw here a little while ago, a group of about 50. There have been stories of and moments were groups of several hundred migrants have arrived at the same time.


LAVANDERA: And that has, according to CBP officials, led to the overwhelming sense of what's going on down here.

CABRERA: Martin, you were there at the central bus station in the city of Brownsville. Tell us what you've seen today. And how are people moving from the crowded migrant centers onto buses and, eventually, on their way elsewhere? MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, that's all being handled, of

course, by ICE, which is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and then you got the Border Patrol that is doing the same. They're loading the migrants that they're letting out of the federal facilities, putting them on buses, and bringing them to the bus station here in Brownsville. And that's where you see a federal problem quickly translate to becoming a local problem.

Now, we have been told -- at least Customs and Border Protection has told local officials here -- that about 2,000 migrants have been released in this area so far. There could be several thousand more to come.

[19:20:00] It's usually here in Brownsville in groups of several hundred that are handled per day. City officials are here, as well as county. They are set up to where they receive the migrant as they come in, they check their documents, make sure they're in order, and then begin the process of trying to connect the migrants here to family members they may have in the U.S.

Once they can do that -- it's usually over the phone -- then they can work out money, money to buy airline tickets, money to buy bus tickets. And then, within the same day, they get most of the migrants off on their way to get with family. If they have to keep them overnight, they do have shelters that are set up and they have the police here to help with transportation and protection.

It's working well so far. They figure they can handle up to a thousand migrants a day, but it's costing a lot of money. And that's money the city of Brownsville really cannot afford as they take on a federal problem that's literally being dropped every day at their doorstep, Ana.

CABRERA: Martin Savidge, Ed Lavandera, thank you, guys.

Joining us now is Congressman Juan Vargas who represents the 51st District in California. That includes part of the U.S./Mexican border and also the busiest land port of entry in the country.

Congressman, thanks for being with us. Do you agree with the President's suggestion to shut down the southern border?

REP. JUAN VARGAS (D), CALIFORNIA: It's the most idiotic thing he said since raking the leaves in the forest. That that's what Finland to prevent fires. It would be an absolute disaster for both sides of the border, for the United States, for Mexico. Millions of people would ultimately lose their jobs. It is really dumb.

CABRERA: What do you see as the economic impact there in your district?

VARGAS: Well, the economic impact in my district would be a disaster. We have San Isidro as you mentioned, the land port of entry, the busiest one in the western hemisphere, and hundreds of thousands of jobs in California depend on that border, on that crossing. And if you close it down, it would be a huge economic impact, not only

for my city and for my area but all of California and, frankly, all of the United States. It really is something that's unbelievable, reckless, stupid, and, again, it is up there with some of the dumbest things he said since he's been president.

CABRERA: I know the San Isidro port of entry was actually closed back in November for a few hours after there was a bit of a clash there along the border. And I understand, according to the San Isidro Chamber of Commerce, that the estimated toll that took to local business was $5.3 million to have that closed for just a few hours.

But immigration is an issue that the President believes works for him politically. He has focused on it for a long time. And now, given the reality that we're seeing on the ground with a surge in migrants crossing the border, the shelters above capacity, doesn't that bolster his position that there is, in fact, a crisis?

VARGAS: No, in fact, he's created this crisis, interestingly. We've seen numbers larger than this a decade ago. And why were we able to handle it? Well, because the administration was working to try to handle it. He is purposely trying to make this a crisis, he is making it a crisis.

And every time he opens his mouth, in Central America, they hear, oh, United States, let's go. He is, in a sense, interestingly and oddly enough, getting more people to come. So all the things he is doing, as barbaric as they are, is actually making the situation worse. I've lived on the border my entire life, and I have to tell you it's never been like this.

We've had larger numbers. Absolutely, we've had more people coming. But it's worked better because the administration hasn't been trying to make it a crisis. This administration has been trying to make it a crisis, trying to make it look bad. He's been doing it on purpose because he wants this wall that everybody knows won't work.

CABRERA: But it doesn't make sense. Why? Why are we seeing this spike in migrants now?

VARGAS: Well, I think there are two reasons. I mean, we've always had a spike in the spring, so this is not unusual. That's one.

Secondly, he is talking so much about it. He is like the commercial down in Central America. I mean, it's interesting. He thinks every time he opens his mouth, fewer people are going to come --

CABRERA: So you think it's backfiring?

VARGAS: No, more people are going to come. It's backfiring. I mean, he is the commercial for, come to the United States. Every time he says something like this, more people come. He is the person drawing -- oddly enough and ironic enough, he is the problem once again.

CABRERA: Congressman Juan Vargas, I appreciate your perspective. Thanks for being here. VARGAS: Thank you.

CABRERA: Police say she got into the wrong car and ended up dead. The investigation into the University of South Carolina student who was murdered after mistakenly getting into a car she thought was her Uber. You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


CABRERA: Straight to live pictures right now of a vigil being held for a University of South Carolina student murdered after mistakenly getting into a car that she thought was her Uber.

Twenty-one-year-old Samantha Josephson was last seen on surveillance cameras outside of a bar in the early morning hours on Friday. Police say it looks like she was waiting for a car she had ordered through the Uber app. And when a black Chevrolet Impala pulled up, she got in. She never made it home.

CNN's Jean Casarez is following this story. And, Jean, there are some chilling new details about what police found in the suspect's car?

JEAN CASAREZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Right. What we're hearing, first of all and foremost, a large amount of blood. And presumptively, it was originally tested. It was determined to be blood. And then once they got the search warrant and they did more testing and -- of the car, carrying and executing that search warrant, they found that large amount of blood in the trunk.

[19:30:00] Also, additionally, we know that bleach was found in the car. There were some personal wipes found in the car and even Windex- type cleaning fluid for windows.

There was also when the car was pulled over which was about hours later there was a female passenger in the car. She is cooperating with law enforcement. But there were child restraint locks that were in place so any passenger would not be able to get out even if they tried.

ANA CABRERA, CNN ANCHOR: Wow. You have new information about the wounds the victim suffered.

CASAREZ: Well, we have gotten the arrest, warrant and affidavit. And first of all, the charges at this point are murder with malice of forethought which is the most serious type of murder there is in South Carolina along with kidnapping. But that large amount of blood it says that the numerous wounds were evident on multiple parts of her body including her head, her neck, her face, her upper torso, her legs and her foot.

So when you look at that and you think about the violent struggle, we still don't know what the murder weapon was, but the violent struggle that had to be going on because those wounds in separately, she could have been alive from many of those to be afflicted.

CABRERA: How horrific. Jean Casarez, thank you for that update. He has always argued he is a businessman not a politician. But it is

President Trump's business practices that now might have him in hot water. Next, an investigation into how he reportedly inflated his net worth to lenders and investor.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:35:51] CABRERA: By now you know President Trump likes to talk about his money and how much he is worth. Well now, he a new report from "the Washington Post" highlights some of his financial inconsistencies over the years. And it provides examples of how President Trump would inflate his net worth in order to get larger loans and smaller insurance premiums.

According to the paper the Trump organization would send a statement of financial condition. In 2011 for example it stated the golf course had 55 home lots zoned to sell. But "the Washington Post" reports a closer look reveals Trump only had 31 lots zoned and ready for sale.

The President also states Trump tower has 68 stories, in reality it only had 58. He also claimed his Virginia vineyards had 2,000 acres. The actual number is closer to 1,200 acres.

At a congressional hearing last month, the President's former lawyer Michael Cohen testified that his ex-boss inflated as well.


REP. ALEXANDRA OCASIO-CORTEZ (D), NEW YORK: I wanted to about your conversation with my colleague from Missouri about acid inflation. To your knowledge, did the President ever provide inflated assets to an insurance company?


OCASIO-CORTEZ: Who else knows that the President took this?

COHEN: Allen Wisselberg, Ron (INAUDIBLE) and Matthew Calamari.

OCASIO-CORTEZ: And where would the committee find more information on this? Do you think we need to review his financial statements and tax returns in order to compare them?

COHEN: Yes. You would find it at the Trump board.


CABRERA: With us now, Gwenda Blair, author of "The Trump's Three generations that built an empire." And CNN legal analyst Paul Callan.

Gwenda, how did the President get away with these exaggerations? Did people believe him?

GWENDA BLAIR, AUTHOR, THE TRUMP'S THREE GENERATIONS THAT BUILT AN EMPIRE: Yes, in word. I think we should remember there are lots of instances but one of the more telling ones was in the early 80s when "the Forbes" magazine was just beginning to have those list of the most wealthy Americans. And Donald Trump unlike almost everyone else name to that list, insisted he was worth more than they were saying he was worth. And Josh Greenberg, the reporter who was working on it at a time, more recently has said that Trump exaggerated by such an enormous amount that the magazine thought that they were doing due diligence to kind of cut back to something that sounded more realistic.

So Trump would say he was worth, $100 million. He was worth less than - he had less than $5 million in his bank account. It was so - the amount he exaggerated was so enormous that the magazine couldn't quite take it in that that was the truth. So it is amazing.

CABRERA: Well, the example that you point out too from earlier, the fact that he was so upset about a publication, you know, not giving him more credit for his wealth, he actually sued somebody at "The New York Times" as I understand it for lowballing his net worth. Here we come to find out it was probably more accurate than he was presenting.

Did people ever call him on this that were in his circle, who were helping to, you know, maneuver and move these financial statements?

BLAIR: He was sued by -- he sued Timothy O'Brien who wrote Trump Nation in the early 2000s for saying estimations of his wealth were hugely exaggerated. And during a deposition in that case, Trump acknowledged that his own evaluation of how much he was worth depended on his mood. That is not usually something we find on a spreadsheet.

CABRERA: Paul, we gave some of the examples of inaccuracies. Could these legally be considered fraud?

PAUL CALLAN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: Well, they could be. Because under federal law you have an obligation to provide accurate information when you are submitting an application to a federally chartered bank. And many of the banks that he was trying to get loans from were federally chartered. And there are similar state laws, for instance here in New York, where the Trump tower is, if he borrows money from New York banks, there would be New York laws that would require accurate financial statements.

So at least in theory he could be prosecuted for this. But the statute of limitations may be gone on a lot of these crimes. I mean, the sheet where we are talking about moments ago was from 2011. Most of the statues have to do with five year or maybe seven year statute of limitations depending upon the financial crimes. So I think these prosecutors who are looking into this now are little late to the line. And it will be hard to prosecute him.

[19:40:37] CABRERA: Gwenda, in some ways these falsified financial statements are a reflection of how Trump operates about everything. We have talked about it over and over again, his use of hyperbole and the exaggeration.

BLAIR: Well, it was part of the whole branding thing that he launched from the get go. But certainly in the 80s when he went to a high gear. And he wanted to in every possible way have all of the attributes of being, you know, enormous business magnet. He brought a yacht. He bought the Plaza Hotel. He bought an airline. He bought a football team. All these efforts to make him seen - to make the name Trump, you know, mean enormous wealth, enormous success, glitter, you know, just top of the top, best of the best. And so, exaggerating how much money he had insisting that he not only belonged in the "Forbes" list, but he should be higher up, that they were under estimating how much he was worth.

Nobody else did that. Everybody else was kind of quiet, you know, reserved. It was something you boasted about, not him. He called up Forbes and complained. He had Roy Cohn called up and complain. He called up in his sort of also ego John Baron (ph) who was his supposed communications advisor who he called up. It was Donald Trump using a different name saying that he was Trump's employee, calling up to correct the record. So the idea that he would embellish his wealth was all part of that big branding effort.

CABRERA: Again, doing that with a publication is one thing. Doing it when it comes to banking and loans and insurance is another one. The paper quotes an accounting professor who wonder whether any real bank or insurer could have been fooled by this. He called it humorous. He was questioned - he said the statements are kind of ridiculous, Paul. Could the sheer volume of exaggerations actually work to his benefit?

CALLAN: Well, it could. And there is actually a phrase that he adopted that is used by lawyer. It is called rhetorical hyperbole. And that is when you say something that is so obviously an exaggeration, the person who is listening to you should understand that to be true.

And Trump has really, you know, welcomed and endorsed this phrase, rhetorical hyperbole. He uses it all the time. And I think the other thing you have to consider is the banks were playing off his celebrity as well. I mean, they were taking in the information.

I find it hard to believe that these big banks couldn't figure out what Trump is really worth. But they were profiting from his celebrity, the fact that they were lending money to this big New York state developer and then later a TV star. So there may be some wrong doing on both sides of the loan table here.

CABRERA: All right. It is so interesting. Thank you both for the interesting conversation. Always good to see you, Gwenda Blair, Paul Callan.

BLAIR: Thanks. Nice to see you too.

CABRERA: All right. So who is Tricky Dick? A new four-part CNN original series explores Richard Nixon's, rise, his fall, his incredible comeback and then his political destruction, featuring never before seen footage. The new episodes airs tonight at 9:00 only here on CNN.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) [19:48:18] CABRERA: No more aide. The Trump administration says it is cutting off funding to these three countries - Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador. One House Democratic aide says it could be more than $500 million. The reason, the acting White House chief of staff put it this way.


MICK MULVANEY, ACTING CHIEF OF STAFF: Look, there's a lot of good ways to help solve this problem. Congress could do it, but they are not going to. Mexico could help to did it. They need to do a little bit more. Honduras could do more. Nicaragua could do more. El Salvador could do more. And if we are going to give these countries hundreds of millions of dollars we would like them to do more. That, Jake, I would respectfully submit to you is not an unreasonable position. We could prevent a lot of what's happening on the southern border by preventing people from moving into Mexico in the first place.


CABRERA: Which bring us to your weekend Presidential brief highlighting some of the most pressing issues the President is facing as he starts the week.

And with us CNN national security analyst Samantha Vinograd. She helped prepare the Presidential daily brief under President Obama.

Sam, you worked on foreign assistance. What do you make of Mulvaney's comments that these countries aren't doing enough?

SAMANTHA VINOGRAD, CNN NATIONAL SECURITY ANALYST: Well, I do want to note that Mulvaney was previously director of the office of management and budget. So he was directly responsible for reviewing, approving and administering the very foreign assistance that President Trump is now cutting.

And I worked on foreign assistance in Iraq and later at the White House. And I think it is important to remind viewers what foreign assistance is and what is isn't. Foreign assistance isn't charity. And it's also not a bribe for good behavior like say a hush money payment is.

Foreign assistance is used to address a specific need. In the northern triangles case it's to create conditions on the ground that people don't want to flee and to strengthen the capacity of local security forces so that the borders in the northern triangle are secure.

President Trump has reportedly ordered is freezing past years' funds, fiscal year '17 and fiscal year '18 and a lot of state department programs are actually multiyear. What that means is programs and projects that are already under way are just not going to be completed. They are going to be put on hold.

What we don't know is what's going to happen with next year's budget. Secretary Pompeo was just on the hill defending it. And this is where Congress has some leverage. They could tell the secretary that unless the administration fully restores the funding that they have frozen, they are not going to move ahead with the fiscal year 2020 budget.

[19:50:36] CABRERA: You know, the President set to meet with secretary of state Mike Pompeo tomorrow. Any chance he changes his mind?

VINOGRAD: I have no idea what the President is going to do. I don't think anybody does. But what we know is that he is a creature of habit in some ways. He has consistently undercut his own team. And this decision on the foreign assistance is no different.

Secretary of state Pompeo, the state department website talk about how important this assistance is to combat illegal immigration. And Ana, secretary of homeland security Nielsen was on the ground in Honduras the day President Trump reportedly told Pompeo to put this funding on hold and she signed an agreement lauding the security cooperation, the work that the northern triangle countries were doing to stem illegal immigration.

So bruised egos aside, the President is actually degrading the ability of his cabinet officials to be taken seriously. There's no indication when they sign agreements, when they publish documents or when they say anything on his behalf that he actually agrees with what they are saying. This is going to impact their ability to do work in a variety of areas.

And he is doing the opposite of what they are advising and really assuring that there are going to be increased migration flows toward our southern border. He is creating a crisis there and at the same time he is creating a crisis with Mexico. He has repeatedly insulted Mexico on the campaign and as President. He did it again last week. The President of Mexico Obrador who is goes by the (INAUDIBLE) is not taking the bait yet but at a certain point, we have to wonder when he is going to step back from working with us another areas because he doesn't want to be President Trump's public scapegoat.

CABRERA: So you are saying could get worse before things get better?

Let's switch topics for a minute because there's new allegations that Saudi Arabia hacked Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' phone. Now, what do you advise Trump to do if this is true?

VINOGRAD: Well, I think we have to put this in context. It's obviously highly disturbing that Saudi Arabia reportedly hacked Jeff Bezos' phone but we can't be hypocrites here. This is not the first time that a foreign intelligence service or intelligence service targeted a high-profile American in the private sector. It's also not the first time that a foreign intelligence service has targeted a member of the private sector who said something that they don't like.

The U.S. intelligence services, other intelligence services around the world don't just target public sector officials. We know, though, that Saudi Arabia has a track record on this. They launched covert operations with fatal consequences against Jamal Khashoggi which makes this allegation much more credible. What would make this unusual and illegal is whether any Americans conspired with the Saudi government, whether it was AMI or any other official to hack this information and to use it to embarrass Jeff Bezos.

CABRERA: Samantha Vinograd, thank you.

VINOGRAD: Thanks, Ana.

CABRERA: It was truly disturbing piece of video. A teen girl being shoved off a bridge. Somehow, she manages to survive this 80-foot plunge. Now we hear the tearful apology from the young woman who pushed her.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to sincerely apologize to Jordan Holgerson, her family and friends for the pain and humiliation I have caused by my mindless action that occurred last summer.


CABRERA: Next, what the judge decided her sentence should be and whether it was fair.

You are live in the CNN NEWSROOM.


[19:58:05] CABRERA: It was the horrifying push seen across the country.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, she's saying no.



CABRERA: Jordan Holgerson fell a terrifying 60 feet into the water below after she was pushed by her friend Taylor smith last summer. Jordan sustained major injuries from that fall including punctured lungs and broken ribs.

Now earlier this month, Taylor pleaded guilty to reckless endangerment. And Wednesday, she was sentenced as emotions ran high on both sides.

Jordan's mother slammed Taylor's actions.


GENELLE HOLGERSON, MOTHER OF TEEN WHO WAS PUSHED OFF BRIDGE: Taylor didn't just give Jordan a little push. She deliberately shoved my daughter off that bridge with no care to her life. Taylor has continued to lie about the incident for many months and has still not shown remorse, in my opinion. I ask that she sit in jail for as long as my daughter had to lay in that hospital.


CABRERA: Both former friends who were just feet apart from each other cried throughout the sentencing. Jordan was so emotional that her statement was read on her behalf.


JORDAN HOLGERSON, TEEN PUSHED OFF BRIDGE: I never wanted to be pushed off that bridge, and I said no as seen in one of the videos. And Taylor had no right taking away my right from making my own decision that day. I was really looking forward to a sincere apology, and all I have been receiving from the family is threats and lies. Taylor has made me feel guilty and look like a bad guy in this situation when I need to remember that I have done nothing wrong.


CABRERA: Taylor then tearfully apologized.


TAYLOR, TEEN WHO PUSHED JORDAN HOLGERSON OFF THE BRIDGE: I would like to sincerely apologize to Jordan Holgerson and her family and friends for the pain and humiliation I have caused by my mindless action that occurred last summer. Although it may seem like my intent was to harm or even though I have moved on without putting any punishment on myself, this is false. Jordan has passed through my thoughts repetitively since the incident.


[20:00:06] CABRERA: The judge then sentenced Taylor to two days in jail.